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SportsPresidential pre-campaigns, without pain or glory for the electorate

Presidential pre-campaigns, without pain or glory for the electorate

One of the most relevant questions in each electoral process is how much party and candidate campaigns end up modifying citizen preferences? Hence, measurements at the beginning and end of an election become relevant. Judging by the numbers obtained in an evaluation of the pre-campaigns, these do not seem to have had a substantial effect so far.

For an electoral campaign to have effect it requires being visible. Until last December, the average voter still wasn’t very interested in the upcoming June election. Not being aware of the election date is an indicator of their low levels of attention to the process. Only 4 percent of the population knows precisely the date of the election. Another 16 percent know it will be in June. Almost one in four knows that it will be in 2024 (23 percent), and the rest of the citizens believe that it will be on another date (12 percent) or openly declare that they do not know (45 percent).

A basic way to classify electoral processes is to divide them into those where there is a substantial alteration of preferences, or even the winner, and those where nothing happens and the election ends with the same numbers as it began. Now, in the first case we have elections that are close and are more competitive or elections in which the gap opens between the winner and his opponents.

So far this century, all presidential elections had tended to close, except the last one. This was by far a surprise to most analysts. For this reason, it is essential to observe electoral campaigns and their possible effects or strategies.

Now, the fact that a voter does not change in the short term does not necessarily mean that he or she will not change throughout the election or with the accumulation of what happens in the following days, just under 5 months. That is, campaigns sometimes have an effect at turning points or with events that can happen even in the inter-campaign period.

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The evaluation of political pre-campaigns ultimately reflects electoral preferences. Therefore, they have not been altered by the pre-campaigns. In any case, it seems that they reaffirm what was thought before being exposed to them. The level of liking of the campaigns, their credibility, their quality in terms of information or the predisposition to change their vote seem to be highly correlated with the electoral preferences registered before the pre-campaigns.

The leading or preferred candidate, Claudia Sheinbaum, has the best numbers in this evaluation. Their spots are the most liked (78 percent), they are the most informative (42 percent), they make the best proposals (37 percent), they are the most credible (52 percent) and they generate more desire to vote for them ( 63 percent).

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Although the candidates’ knowledge levels have grown, opinions or preferences do not seem to have changed either. The candidate who has grown the most in knowledge is Xóchitl Gálvez. During 2023 it grew almost 40 percentage points, going from 29 knowledge points in February to almost 70 points in December (68 percent). That is, almost 7 out of 10 adults nationwide know it. However, this increase in the level of knowledge has not altered preferences, because the image of her has not changed, it remains negative.

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On the other hand, the recently nominated Citizen Movement candidate, Jorge Álvarez Máynez, presents very low levels of knowledge. Only 6 percent of citizens know his name. Therefore, his recent nomination does not increase preferences for MC. Unlike Samuel García, who was already a well-known character for having contested and won the election in Nuevo León, his state, Álvarez Máynez today does not contribute anything to his party. This doesn’t mean he can’t do it eventually. The problem is that he has little time to grow, and it seems unlikely that he will reach the knowledge levels of his competitors.

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It is interesting that Álvarez Máynez (29 percent) is as popular within his party as Patricia Mercado (28 percent), but outside he does not seem to have much political capital (only 8 percent).

With a null effect of campaigns and with knowledge or image of the candidates with low or negative numbers, the non-existent effect of pre-campaigns is understandable. For this reason, Morena’s candidate consolidates herself as the leader with the wide difference that she has over her opponents.

The time of inter-campaigns comes and then a brief period of formal campaigns. We will have to be attentive and observe their possible effects. The fundamental problem for the opposition is that there are only 4 and a half months until the election. It is very likely that both the news part and the campaigns themselves will intensify, but the closer we are to the election, the less likely a change of winner or a substantial change in preferences seems likely.

It is true that differentiated participation could greatly shorten the distance between the leader and her main opponent. What is not easy is that this differentiated participation could affect in such a way that there is a change of winner.

*Parametry Director

Methodological note: Target population: people over 18 years of age with a valid voting credential. Representativeness: national. No. of surveys: 1,600 face-to-face interviews in housing carried out in November and December 2023, of which 800 were carried out from December 27 to 30, 2023. Sampling method: systematic random with probability of selection proportional to size. Sampling frame: electoral sections reported by the INE. Statistical confidence level: 95%. Margin of error (+/-) 2.4%. Questionnaire design, sample, field operation and analysis: Parametria, SA de CV

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